I call myself a dog mom. I feed him, care for him when he’s sad, help him find friends, exercise with him, teach him, orchestrate veterinary appointments, and in general try to help him live happy and healthy as best I can. All the things parents do for their human children.
I understand that my dog is different than a human child. Their umvelt (the way they see the world) is very different than ours. They are physically incapable of seeing the same way we are, they cannot speak our language, and their heightened sense of smell gives them super powers! But at the same time they need us. For care and structure. They rely on us, become our best friends, and we are the ones who protect them from the world. And to be honest and fair I sometimes rely on them, for comfort and care and a shoulder to cry on. I try very hard to keep a realistic view of the differences between my life and true parental care, but sometimes Jack acts uncannily human. Today was one of those times!
Nathan was home with him all day yesterday, and despite the fact that he had been fed, walked, cuddled, and probably spoiled rotten all day, at bed time all of those things still weren’t enough. He wined, and wined, and wined. Pacing the house restlessly. We’ve come to know that normally Jack only does these things when he’s sick. So Nathan got up, and headed downstairs with him. But he wasn’t sick. He just simply wanted to wander, sniff, and have his own way. He did this two more times that night. Settling only a few times to take in the snuggles before becoming restless again.
We awoke then next morning, and despite being exhausted and more than a little annoyed we still had to greet him happily because realistically he didn’t care or really understand that he’d annoyed us all night. Deciding that his restlessness must’ve stemmed from a need for exercise and socialization we packed him up and took him to the dog park, where he promptly rolled in the first pile of shit he could find.
I brought him home, and a blocked off all of the doorways in an effort to coral him directly to the bath, but to no avail. Once he figured out what was going on he jumped over the chair we had used as a blocker into the living room. I called him back but he turned around, sat his butt down on the floor, and whined from the other side of the chair. Even when I convinced him to come back he faked not being able to climb over the chair, even though he had JUST jumped it! He gave me the puppy dog eyes, “But Mum, I can’t jump that”. Sassy, sassy, sassy. I finally got him over the chair, down the hall, and into the tub, with Nathan hysterically laughing the entire time. After our bath, he still didn’t settle down, he howled and howled as if we were the meanest people ever. Ohh my heart strings, I played for him the world’s smallest violin in my head.
It is days like these I’m reminded of why I refer to myself as a “dog Mom”, and I become terrified of the idea of human children! How could something you love so much, do so many annoying stubborn things, and you still love them? And you still smile every time you see their face? And they yours.